Subhash Laxman Koli, whose alleged complaint had led to the arrest of 15 Muslim men for cheering for Pakistan after the Champions Trophy final, told a court in Madhya Pradesh’s Burhanpur on Saturday that the police had framed them.
“No one raised slogans and no one distributed sweets. All accused are innocent because police filed a false case against them,” he said. In a two-page affidavit filed in the court, the 32-year-old said that he had gone to Shahpur police station on June 18 with his father Laxman and friend Sahil Mansuri to free Anis, his neighbour, who had been taken into custody.
“The town inspector (Sanjay) Pathak slapped me and my father and beat up my friend with a baton and put him in the lock-up. I was made to sign blank papers. I did not write that the accused raised Pakistan zindabad slogans,’’ he said in the affidavit.
“The truth is that some miscreants, maybe four or five, stealthily came and burst crackers with an intention to vitiate the atmosphere. The accused are my neighbours. How could they have burst crackers when they were present near us?’’
Koli said he was scared when Pathak told him that he had come to save a Muslim despite being a Hindu. He added that he signed some papers thinking that either his friend Sahil or Anis was being released. Koli told The Sunday Express that he wanted to save the 15 innocent people by speaking the truth. He said he was worried because he got a call from the police station asking him to come there at night but he chose not to go.
The police had first charged the accused with sedition but later dropped the case saying there was no evidence. Pathak was unavailable for comments but Burhanpur SP RRS Parihar claimed the complainant was probably under pressure because he did not want to antagonise the villagers. “We may add the charge of influencing the witness,” he said.